Some local service workers say stay-home order is unclear, needs more direction

·2 min read

Pet groomer Victor Pundzius was so confused with the new orders that he called the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit to clarify whether or not his service was essential.

Turns out it's not.

But Pundzuis, who owns For Your Fur Kids in Windsor, says after what he saw following the last lockdown, grooming should be.

"It was terrible, the dogs were in bad shape, grooming should have been deemed essential. I think it's unfair the way everything was done," he said.

And he wasn't the only one questioning provincial measures.

Two local housekeepers told CBC News that they also found the province's stay-at-home order from Jan. 14 unclear on what services could still operate. The rules left them feeling uncertain, especially since Windsor-Essex went through several rounds of new restrictions starting in November that kept changing how and which businesses could operate.

Housekeeper Nicole Kersey says the provincial rules in the stay-at-home order issued last week are "vague," so she's being cautious while still trying to earn a living.

"I really was [confused] and I kind of still am," said Kersey, who owns Nicole's Quality Cleaning in Windsor-Essex . "It says I'm essential I can still do my job but then it doesn't make sense [because] they don't want you going to other homes."

Tahmina Aziz/CBC
Tahmina Aziz/CBC

Under the new order, housekeepers are listed as being allowed under domestic services but only for homes with children, seniors or vulnerable persons.

After six years on the job, Kersey had built up some loyal clients, but out of fear, she says about 80 per cent of her clients have cancelled or put their services on hold.

The lack of work has taken a financial toll on her and she's had to apply for government funding.

Adam Morrison, president of Queen of Clean Windsor Inc., which specializes in residential and commercial cleaning, says he's also feeling the hit.

On the residential side, about 30 per cent of his clients don't qualify for services under the new order.

"It makes any business owner nervous right? We're not in a position where it's hitting us now and we're not necessarily hitting a lot of the requirements for some of the wage subsidies," he said.

Meanwhile, Pundzius says if the lockdown goes past a month, not only will it hurt the dogs, but it will harm his business too.

At this time, his income is already down as people can't access his services and many aren't buying products despite him offering curbside pickup.

"It's just unfair with Costco, all these other big companies, it seems like they just want to hurt the little guy basically," he said.